The Covid-19 pandemic has forced millions to work from home and pushed more education resources online. For those who are healthy, but in lockdown, this is an ideal opportunity to focus on skills.
The spread of Covid-19 across the world has forced unprecedented measures on dazed nations trying to control its spread. One of those is the shift to remote working for those workers who can manage it.
In London, KPMG has all 8,000 staff working from home, Twitter has 5,000 employees worldwide doing the same. JPMorgan Chase, General Motors and Unilever are among the global giants following suit. For the first time, millions of people are now working from home. You might be one of them.
At the same time, universities across the world are closing down class teaching and moving lectures and seminars online. As well as slowing the spread of infection to levels that, hopefully, do not overwhelm healthcare resources, these measures might make permanent changes to society.
The remote working experiment could accelerate the remaking of the workplace, while the extensive online delivery of education could profoundly reshape learning.
The global public health crisis hit a business world that was already struggling with a talent shortage and in need of measures for upskilling and reskilling. The virus might also have created the opportunity and given us the means to do something about that. In other words, the lockdown may be a good time to experiment with online learning.
Governments investing in training
In its response to the economic impact of Covid-19, the European Commission said that it “stands ready to support” measures that protect workers during the crisis, including “upskilling and reskilling programmes that have proven effective in the past”. Meanwhile, the Singapore government is investing in reskilling initiatives for five sectors hardest hit by the effects of the pandemic. Other countries are likely to follow suit.
Many workers who unexpectedly find themselves at home might have the additional pressure of childcare to deal with as schools close. However, with many companies operating at less than full capacity, they might also be able to invest some work time in training. Employees who travel a lot could devote their travel time to training, and so on.
There are more opportunities than ever before, as education and training resources move online. In most cases, an internet connection and a computer are all that is required to take part. Many of the materials, including lectures, are available to access whenever you have time, so they don’t even require a specific schedule.
An online learning boom
Employees and students appear to be getting the message. They have no shortage of choice and there are many high-quality resources available.
Here are four examples of how online learning has changed in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and how you can further develop your skills:
LinkedIn, for example, is offering 16 free courses on various aspects of working from home, including how to use virtual meeting tools and staying productive outside of the office environment. Now available for free, more than 13 hours of content should help you and your teams become more productive while working remotely.
General Assembly, the international training provider, has shifted all of its workshops and courses online in just six days, offering thousands of students the option to continue developing their skills while putting safety first. Furthermore, the company has organised free webinars to help businesses, teams, and employees maximise their productivity.
The tuition-free online university, The University of the People, has seen a 200% increase in applications from Japan, Korea and Italy – all countries experiencing Covid-19 lockdown – and a 50% increase so far from the US. Other online educators have similar stories.
The Covid-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global crisis that is dramatically changing the world around us. And while it is currently difficult to foresee the end of it, in the meantime, those who can, should invest the time in developing new skills that will be much needed in the near future.